I was down and out for most of the day with a really bad sinus headache. I finally gave in and went back to bed for a while then woke with some energy–enough, I thought, to finish the novel’s rough draft. I anticipated two more chapters to wrap it up (with a cliffhanger, of course), but I only lasted through one chapter.
So, 3,110 words today for a word count total of 91,269, and today’s new chapter is Chapter 33, The Heart of a Mujahideen. Here’s an excerpt:
She clenched her teeth, as she always had, at the next phrase, and resumed, “I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a Mujahideen! I have fought here before, in the time of the Shurovee.” They didn’t need to know she’d fought for her life against the Mujahideen. “Like you, I scorn the outsiders, the Egyptians, the Yemeni, the Saudis, or any other not of this land who dare invade the borders of this realm. Rather than that dishonor to the people, I myself will take up arms. I will be a general, a judge of the evil ones, and, as Saradi has promised, a rewarder of your virtues and bravery. Today, enshallah, we might make the journey to where the springs run with clear, cool water, where the date palms drop their fruit at our feet, but before that we will make the outsiders, the non-believers, fuel for hell!”
Alexei wasn’t the only one who could quote the Quran, she thought. More cheers erupted, but no one stirred to charge up and over the hill.
“Today,” she began again, “by your valor in the field, we shall have victory over your enemies, the enemies of Afghanistan, the enemies of Allah!”
They sat or stood enraptured, yes, but not exactly what she had hoped for. Again, her love of history brought her the answer, a story even an illiterate farmer had heard a mullah tell.
Aila, the favorite wife of the Prophet—probably because she was the youngest and prettiest in his old age—had rallied her ailing husband’s armies by stripping off her veil and using it to wave the men into battle then fought, her hair unbound, at their sides.
“Our enemy lies between us and Saradi,” she said. “Let us show Saradi our hearts, our mind, our blood, our…” Her words caught briefly, then she continued, “…our love are his!”
She turned and dashed up the remainder of the hill, making her team and Burdette’s men scramble to keep up with her. At the crest, she stood, waif-like against the backdrop of the White Mountains, her black clothing making her a perfect target. A bullet struck at her feet, but she didn’t move. Several of her team returned fire.
Mai dropped the bullhorn then reached with her left hand and pulled the keffiyeh off, and the breeze caught her hair and splayed it like a halo around her head. She held the keffiyeh aloft, like a flag and saw hundreds of men rise to their feet. Abdullah appeared at her side and held the radio at her lips. Her strong, clear voice echoed in the hills.
She charged over the hill, an army at her back.
(c)2013 by Phyllis Anne Duncan